Educating young people to spot scams

Today I got a phone call from a woman claiming she was from O2 and that I would need to get a new SIM card from them as mine was about to be cancelled. For about 10 seconds I believed her. Then I hung up.

We all think we are savvy enough to spot a scam. Sometimes it is only when people ask for personal information such as our date of birth or they request our bank account details that we become suspicious.

In March Media Smart launched a campaign for teenagers. What is especially good about it is that it gives them strategies which if followed will make them less likely to be victims of fraud.

It provides links to sites which will teach them more about scams. It includes the government campaign Stop Think Fraud Here I learnt that in just one year, 1 in 17 adultswere victims of fraud.

An email or call will often appear to represent a company or charity. That happened in my case. They said that they were from O2. They insist that you must make a quick decision. That should be a red flag. Companies do not do that. In my case, I was told my mobile would be disconnected from the network in 48 hours if I took no action.

Over a thousand children and teenagers in the UK are scammed every month. Take Five – – is a site that tells young people to Stop, Challenge and Protect themselves. Their excellent site covers identity theft, payment in advance, and ticket fraud. People may think that they will not be targeted because they have so little money but scamming is never personal. It is not about who you are.

According to the government fraud is the main crime in the UK. Through a series of animated online films Media Smart resources cover different types of fraud:

  • cryptocurrency
  • online shopping deals
  • unauthorised access to webcams
  • fake scholarships
  • spoofing

Rachel Barber-Mack is executive director at Media Smart. It has been part of the Advertising Association since 2023. She said: ‘we are pleased to be supporting the UK government’s national campaign against fraud to drive awareness of scam ads to keep young people safe and empowered online.’

Check out Media Smart’s Scam resources at:

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